CategoryState

Coronavirus daily update: April 3, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 3, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. The Supreme Court of the United States postponed the oral arguments scheduled for its April sitting. The court was scheduled to hear eight cases from April 20 to April 29.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin– Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet in a special session on April 4, 2020, to discuss possible changes to the April 7, 2020, election. Evers said the legislature should consider legislation instituting an all-mail election, in which every voter would receive a ballot by May 19 to be returned by May 26.
  2. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said the Republican caucus would reject Evers’ request. Vos called Evers’ proposal logistically impossible and described it as a “statewide invitation for voter fraud.”
  3. Evers’ announcement followed an order from Judge William M. Conley on April 2 extending absentee voting deadlines ahead of Tuesday’s election. Today, Conley ordered officials to withhold the results of the April 7 election until absentee balloting is complete on April 13. The order came at the request of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
  4. Kentucky – Kentucky’s legislature passed a bill that would allow the secretary of state and governor to jointly change the “manner” in which elections are held during a state of emergency.  Under the current law, only time and place may be altered.
  5. Idaho – Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced that absentee ballots applications will be sent to all registered voters ahead of the state’s May 19 primaries.
  6. South Dakota – Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed new legislation allowing local governments to delay any elections scheduled between April 14 to May 26 to any Tuesday in June.  Omitted from the new law are the state’s upcoming June 2 presidential and downballot primaries.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 17 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
  3. At least four lawsuits were filed seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.
Details:
  1. Colorado – On April 2, Denver District Court Judge Martin Egelhoff granted an emergency stay to allow proponents of the 22-Week Abortion Ban Initiative—Due Date Too Late—to collect additional signatures during a cure period of 15 days after the state’s emergency stay-at-home order expires.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Two of those (New York and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin – Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to convene a special session at 4:00 PM on April 4, to discuss changes to the upcoming spring elections.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. Alabama– The Alabama Supreme Court extended their suspension of in-person proceedings and jury trials through April 30.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. Twelve states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. Twenty states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. Seventeen states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. Kentucky– Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that 186 inmate sentences will be shortened and indicated this would be the first wave of early releases to help slow the spread of coronavirus. A second wave will involve 743 inmates. He stated that all inmates would be screened for symptoms of the disease before their release. Inmates must also have a residence to move into and quarantine for 14 days after their release.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 40 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 33 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective from April 3 to April 13. Schools, which were already closed for the year, were not impacted by this order.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure. Eleven states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered schools statewide to remain closed through April 30. Previously, her office issued a recommendation for schools to close that was scheduled to end April 13.
  2. Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that schools statewide would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to reopen April 13.
Travel restrictions
Overview to date:
  1. Fifteen governors or state agencies issued an executive order.
Details:
  1. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an order requiring all people traveling to Kentucky to self-quarantine for two weeks. His previous order applied only to residents who recently traveled out of the state.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell (R)
State politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Becky Ruth (R-MO)
  2. State Rep. Mary Coleman (R-MO)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Barry Grodenchik (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Costa Constantinides (D)
Local politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. Jacksonville city council member Randy White (R)
Notable influencers who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin


Wisconsin State Legislature Called to Special Session to Discuss Possible Changes to April 7 Election

On April 3, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet in a special session on April 4, 2020, to discuss possible changes to the April 7, 2020, election. Evers will ask the legislature to consider legislation instituting an all-mail election, in which every voter would receive a ballot by May 19 to be returned by May 26.

Evers’ announcement followed an order from Judge William M. Conley on April 2 extending absentee voting deadlines ahead of Tuesday’s election. Today, Conley ordered officials to withhold the results of the April 7 election until absentee balloting is complete on April 13. The order came at the request of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

To date, 22 states and one territory have implemented changes to their election dates in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Learn more:
Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020



Governor appoints Murdock to North Carolina State Senate

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Natalie Murdock (D) to the District 20 seat of the North Carolina State Senate. Murdock’s appointment took effect on April 1, 2020.  She won the Democratic primary in the district on March 3.

Murdock replaces Henry Michaux, Jr. (D), who represented the district since January 13. Gov. Cooper appointed Michaux following the resignation of Floyd McKissick (D) in January 2020. At the time of his appointment, Michaux stated that he expected to serve briefly in the state senate until the North Carolina primaries took place and Cooper appointed the winner to the seat. Michaux resigned from the Senate on March 31, 2020.

Murdock defeated Pierce Freelon and Gray Ellis with 45.2% of the vote in the primary on March 3. Freelon and Ellis received 37% and 17.7% of the vote, respectively. Murdock will face Republican candidate John Tarantino in the general election on November 3. Ballotpedia has identified the North Carolina State Senate as one of 22 state legislative battleground chambers.



Candidate filing period for state and local races to end in Arizona, North Dakota, and Oklahoma

The major-party filing deadlines to run for state elected office in three states are coming up in the next week. Arizona’s and North Dakota’s filing deadlines are on April 6, and Oklahoma’s filing deadline is on April 10.

In Arizona, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Corporation Commission (3 seats)
  • State Senate (30 seats)
  • State House (60 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering Arizona local elections in the following areas, though the filing deadline for these offices is not until July 6:
  • Phoenix
  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Glendale
  • Gilbert
  • Scottsdale
  • Maricopa County
  • Pima County
  • 42 school districts
In North Dakota, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Treasurer
  • State Auditor
  • Commissioner of Insurance
  • Public Service Commissioner
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • State Senate (23 seats)
  • State House (47 seats)
  • Supreme Court (1 seat)
In Oklahoma, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Corporation Commissioner
  • State Senate (24 seats)
  • State House (101 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering Oklahoma local elections in the following areas:
  • Tulsa
  • Oklahoma County
  • Tulsa County
  • Cleveland County
  • Canadian County
  • Osage County
  • 25 school districts (the filing deadline for these elections was December 4, 2019)

Arizona and Oklahoma are also holding retention elections for their state supreme courts and their state intermediate appellate courts on November 3, 2020.

The primary in Arizona is scheduled for August 4, the primary in North Dakota is scheduled for June 9, and the primary in Oklahoma is scheduled for June 30. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) has authorized counties to conduct the June 9 primary entirely by mail in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The general elections for all three states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Arizona’s, North Dakota’s, and Oklahoma’s statewide filing deadlines are the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on April 21 in Michigan.

Arizona, North Dakota, and Oklahoma all have Republican state government trifectas. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.



Coroanvirus daily update: April 2, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 2, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) announced she was creating a special House committee to oversee implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. She tapped Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to chair the committee. At the time of the announcement, no other committee members were announced.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party announced a further postponement of its primary election to an unspecified future date. The primary had originally been scheduled for March 29 before being postponed to April 26.
  2. West Virginia – On April 1, Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order postponing West Virginia’s statewide primary, including its presidential preference primary, to June 9. The primary was originally scheduled to take place on May 12. Details on adjustments to related dates are pending.
  3. Wisconsin – Judge William Conley, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, issued an order extending absentee voting deadlines in Wisconsin’s April 7 election. Under Conley’s order, the absentee ballot request deadline was extended to 5:00 p.m. April 3. The ballot return deadline was extended to 4:00 p.m. April 13. The primary date itself was unchanged.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 15 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  1. Idaho – The Idaho Cannabis Coalition, which is the sponsor of a medical marijuana ballot initiative, announced that the campaign was suspending in-person signature gathering.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Three of those (Louisiana, New York, and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Colorado – According to an article in the The Denver Post on April 1, 2020, “House Majority Leader Alec Garnett said lawmakers will presume they are adjourned day to day based on legal advice and for everyone’s safety as the Senate had called for earlier this week.” The suspension of legislative activity was originally set to expire March 30; it was then extended to April 2.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. Connecticut– The Judicial Branch announced the closure of three courthouses, Stamford, Middletown, and Milford, until further notice. Stamford and Milford’s business was transferred to the courthouse in Bridgeport. Middletown’s business was transferred to the New Britain courthouse.
  2. Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended its original order closing all Pennsylvania courts to the public through April 30.
  3. Missouri- The Missouri Supreme Court extended their previous order suspending in-person proceedings through May 1.
  4. Wyoming – The Wyoming Supreme Court extended their previous orders suspending in-person and jury trials through May 31.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. 11 states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. 21 states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. 17 states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. New York– On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered the release of 1,100 people who violated parole from jails and prisons across the state.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 39 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 32 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Mississippi – Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective April 3 through April 20.
  2. Oklahoma – Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued a stay-at-home order effective April 1 through April 30.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. Forty-nine states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 49 states served 50.1 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 99% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  2. Ten states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. California – Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that schools would remain physically closed for the rest of the academic year. Schools had been closed statewide since March 20 as a result of Newsom’s shelter-in-place order.
  2. Colorado – Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
  3. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the order, the state’s school closure was scheduled to end April 24.
  4. Indiana – Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that schools in the state would remain closed through the end of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to be closed through May 1.
  5. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that the statewide school closure, originally scheduled to end on April 20, would extend until May 1.
  6. Nebraska – Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) directed schools to operate without students through May 31.
  7. West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 17, was extended through April 30.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-AR)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Paul Vallone (D)
  2. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
New York City council member Mark Levine (D)


Connecticut closes three courthouses due to coronavirus

On April 1, 2020, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced the closure of three courthouses in response to the pandemic. Closure of courts in Stamford were prompted by concern about an employee who may be ill with COVID-19. In addition to Stamford, the Judicial Branch announced that the courts in Milford and Middletown would also close until further notice. Court business from Stamford and Milford will transfer to the court in Bridgeport, and Middletown’s business will transfer to the court in New Britain.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other recent updates include:

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended its original order closing all Pennsylvania courts to the public through April 30.
  • The Missouri Supreme Court extended its previous order suspending in-person proceedings through May 1.
  • The Wyoming Supreme Court extended its previous orders suspending in-person and jury trials through May 31

State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020



California governor closes schools for the remainder of the year

On April 1, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that schools would remain physically closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed statewide as a result of Newsom’s shelter-in-place order beginning March 20. Local school officials were responsible for determining school closures before the March 20 order.

Nine states have closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.

Iowa is the only state that has not issued a statewide school closure order in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa school closures are left up to local officials rather than ordered by the state.

Additional Reading:
School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020



Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

On April 1, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order closing nonessential businesses and requiring individuals to remain in their homes except for essential activities. DeSantis’ order is effective from April 2 through April 30. It does not impact schools in the state, which were already closed through May 1.

Thirty-five states have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders to residents. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 28 announced end dates. Of those 35 states, 21 have Democratic governors and 14 have Republican governors.

Although the names of the orders—shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, stay home, stay safe—vary from state to state, they include at least two common elements: the closure of nonessential businesses and requesting all residents to stay home except for essential trips.



New Hampshire Treasurer Resigns, Deputy Treasurer Appointed to Finish Term

Former New Hampshire Deputy State Treasurer Monica Mezzapelle assumed her new position as Commissioner of the Treasury on March 25, 2020. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) appointed Mezzapelle to the nonpartisan position following the resignation of former state treasurer William Dwyer, who left office that same day.

Mezzapelle, a certified public accountant who had served as deputy state treasurer since May 2014, will finish the remainder of Dwyer’s term. The New Hampshire legislature will select a new treasurer in a joint session following the November 2020 general election.

Mezzapelle is the 54th leader of the New Hampshire State Treasury. The position is one of 12 state executive offices Ballotpedia covers in New Hampshire. Of those, the governorship and the five seats on the Executive Council are up for election in 2020.

Additional reading:
New Hampshire Treasurer
New Hampshire state executive offices



Ten states have ordered the release of some inmates in response to the coronavirus

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.

As of April 1, 10 states have ordered the release of inmates at the state level, 23 states have ordered the release of inmates on the local level, and 17 have not released inmates due to coronavirus.

Some state-level changes have been made by courts. On March 24, for example, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order that will suspend or commute county jail sentences for low-risk inmates due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty wrote a memo on March 16 directing local courts to release persons charged with non-capital crimes, so long as they do not pose a danger to the public or are an extreme flight risk.

The governors of Michigan and Illinois issued executive orders allowing local governments to release incarcerated individuals who are vulnerable to the disease and do not pose a risk to the public. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order granting the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections “authority to release people within 180 days of their parole eligibility date, and suspended limits on awarding earned time, to allow for earlier release dates.”

In California, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva released 1,700 people from jail who were convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors and scheduled to be released within 30 days. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of at least 650 inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes and serving sentences of less than a year from Rikers Island.

One governor, Texas’ Greg Abbot, has issued an executive order prohibiting inmates accused or previously convicted of violent crimes from being released without paying bail.

Additional Reading:
New Jersey Supreme Court
Donald Beatty
Alex Villanueva (California)
Bill de Blasio
Jared Polis
Greg Abbott
J.B. Pritzker
Gretchen Whitmer



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